Sports Opinion & Analysis

To End All Flukes

In MLB on October 15, 2012 at 10:13 am

Considering where I currently live, and considering who a lot of my family members root for, this article is not going to make me too popular at backyard BBQ’s or family reunions.

Either way, the playoff series taking place in San Francisco is one of great importance to Major League Baseball. The Giants, winners of the 2010 World Series, are playing the St. Louis Cardinals, winners of the 2011 World Series, to see who will get to play for the 2012 World Series.

It’s battle of the titans, only both teams haven’t been considered very colossal given their achievements. And that’s because of how both teams accomplished their most recent World Series wins.

“2010 was a fluke.”
“No, 2011 was a fluke.”

Halfway through the 2010 regular season, it did not look like the Giants were going to contend for much of anything, let alone the Commissioner’s Trophy. Coming into the final series of the season against the San Diego Padres, the Padres, who had led the division for 148 days during the season, trailed San Francisco by two games with only three games left to play. After winning the first two games of the series, the Giants were finally able to shut out the Padres and win their first NL West since 2003.

The Giants then continued their tear into the postseason, beating the favored Atlanta Braves, the heavily favored Philadelphia Phillies, and then Texas Rangers to win their first World Series since moving to the Bay Area in 1958.

It’s San Francisco, so all of the confetti is made from 100% recycled, biodegradable, bird friendly, angel kisses.

It had been seven years since the Giants had even been to the postseason, and all of a sudden they were in it to win it. In 2010, the Giants were the poster children for a team that may not have had the most talent on their roster (on paper, it was the Phillies), but who got hot at the exact right moment; when it counts.

That was, of course, until they were replaced on that poster by the 2011 St. Louis Cardinals.

This World Series made as much sense as the new Wild Card format. Wait, the Cardinals won that too?

The last day of the 2011 MLB regular season will go down as the craziest day in the history of the sport. Not even considering the Tampa Bay Rays win over the New York Yankees (that is a whole other article), the St. Louis Cardinals completed the greatest season comeback in MLB history (or perhaps it was the Braves performing the worst collapse in history) to win the NL Wild Card on the last day of play.

Like the Giants the year before, the Cardinals (considering the odds) shouldn’t have even been playing October baseball, but there they were; beating the heavily favored Phillies, the juiced up Milwaukee Brewers, and the “There’s-No-Way-They-Can-Lose-Two-World-Series-In-A-Row” Rangers.

The Cards were another team that got hot when it mattered most.

Now, to call either St. Louis of San Francisco total flukes would be unfair, but let’s be honest, their wins were at least a little flukey at best.

(And before my family in the Midwest, or my neighbors in California get all crazy about me calling their team flukey, think about this: regardless if it was a fluke or not, your team has a banner in their rafters. Isn’t a “flukey” World Series better than no World Series? Know what I’m saying North Side of Chicago?) 

“WE’D SELL OUR CHILDREN FOR A FLUKE!”

The Giants weren’t in the postseason in 2009, and they weren’t in the postseason in 2011. They almost didn’t even make they playoffs the year they won.

The Cardinals weren’t in the postseason in 2010, won a 2011 Wild Card spot on the last day, won the whole shebang, and then lost their longtime manager (Tony La Russa) and longtime face of the franchise (Albert Pujols) in the offseason. By all accounts, they shouldn’t even be in the postseason this year, but look where they are.

Both teams need this 2012 World Series berth to legitimize the current state of their franchise. The Giants need it so they can look at the league and say, “See, losing Buster Posey last year really was as devastating as we said it was.” The Cardinals need it so they can say “We were more than just La Russa and Pujols.”

Considering both franchises wish to be considered legitimate contenders and powerhouses (who doesn’t?), both teams need this series. After the Boston Celtics won the 2008 NBA Finals, Michael Jordan allegedly told Ray Allen (I’m quoting from memory here), that winning one championship is lucky, but winning two is validation.

This series is that validation.

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  1. You got the Giants’ final series from 2010 backwards; they only needed one win against the Padres and it didn’t come until the final game of the season.

  2. You are totally correct. My memory was a bit shaky on the exact numbers, and I trusted a Wikipedia article for the exact details. I have made the corrections. Thanks for the heads up and thanks for reading!

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